All Dressed Up

JaneIt’s always at this time of year I catch myself switching from secretly looking at pictures of wedding dresses to covertly flipping through pictures of red carpet gowns. Oh sure, I pretend not to care about all that garbage, but let’s face it: I love a good dress.

Growing up, it was so fun to play dress up! Even today, as a culture we’re obsessed with it. But why? Why not?

Adornment. It’s got the word “adore” in it. We all want to be adored, don’t we? It’s tough to admit, and yet I have to admit I do. None of this humility BS—I want to decorate myself in feathers or sequins or pearls and run dancing into the sunset!

But what happens when you get there? I don’t know. I wonder, if Graham and I ever get married—will I still look at pictures of wedding dresses? Will I still watch “Say Yes To The Dress”?

Do the actresses who parade the red carpet the Academy Awards still long for the next time? Once you get there, once you are the muse, what do you long for? I wonder, if I ever got there whether it would be enough. Or if I would be compelled to want something else.

I hope if I ever do get there, that I won’t just want a bigger, flashier, more expensive adornment. I hope that if I ever get there I’ll want the opposite—the gift of silence: nothing but trees, sky, and the crashing of waves upon the shore.

But that’s probably bogus and romantic of me to imagine. Probably I’d want the dress.

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Got the Part!

So, I got the part. We start rehearsals in two weeks. Great. “Aaron, why so glum?” Glad you asked. I have an issue. And that issue’s name is Jerome. Yup. He got cast too. There must be some kinda second chance program involved here. Get this: he’s understudying me. What the heck?! Am I in some kinda poltergeist or something?! I mean really. Do they think that he can actually handle the work load? The only thing that he can handle are those stupid protein sandwiches he’s always shoveling down his gullet. I’m sorry. I sound bitter. I’m not. I just work so hard for what I have and it bugs me that people can just walk off the street and into this business with a certain look and be half as talented (in his case maybe less) and take the express lane to success. I ran into him on the street and he said that “he had some super sonic ideas” and “it’s gonna be better than Street Bitches Death Match.” What does that even mean? Actually, I DO know what that means: HE’S AN IDIOT. And all I can hear in my head is my dad’s voice — “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Well, Dad, you haven’t met Jerome.

Gary called today. I wonder what he wants. I worked on a show of his a few years back. One of the top five most incredible experiences of my life. I heard that he’s written another show, and I’ve always been booked so I haven’t been able to audition. Man, what I’d give to work with him again.

I think I’ve solved the Debbie Debacle. I’m just gonna write her a note. How’s this: “Dear Debbie, You’re hot. Yours, Aaron.”

PRINT IT!

The Crux of the Story.

LauraIs anyone else not surprised Paul’s being an asshole again today?

Aaron and I were rehearsing the scene where the strongest, most passionate character suddenly has a change of heart…with zero evidence of why in the script… You’re watching the show, and then all the sudden you’re like, “wait a minutes, what, I thought that…?”  Our moral compass loses its magnetism!! Which would be fine—maybe— if that were the crux of the story… But it’s not!  It just doesn’t make sense!  Ugh!!! GARY!!!!  He may be my brother, but this script sucks.  It’s awful.

Gary’s writing lately has character schizophrenia.  A character will start out interestingly enough one way, then lose all steam and become entirely another character (or two!) before the show is over!  You can’t watch it without being completely confused, and you sure as hell have a hard time acting it! It’s like he started writing, forgot where he was going with it, and said, “Eh, this worked before, I’ll just throw that in there.”  Success comes with its hazards, we all know that, but here we are, a group of dedicated artists excited about this interesting, very Gary script, when it suddenly gets a hoke injection!

Poor Aaron has to search his heart and soul for some way to make this scene make sense.  So, yes, PAUL, things were progressing at a little slower pace than Aaron and I usually work at, but cut us some damn slack!!!  It takes a lot off effort to make shit smell like roses! We’re trying here!

What pisses me off even more is that Paul should know this!  I hate to admit it, but he’s a great actor.  AND I’ve snuck some peeks at stuff he’s written (and kept quiet about) that he left sitting out at Gary’s coffee table.  Again, hate to admit it, but it’s pretty damn good.  You’d think anyone with Paul’s talent and vision could see our struggle…instead he just freaked out and screamed at us, “Just say the goddamn lines, Aaron!  The words are right there on the page!  And so help me God, Laura, if you make one more inappropriate face…”  Aw c’mon, like he’s never raised an eyebrow at an odious line before.  And his eyes are so piercing, when he fixes his gaze on you it’s like he’s yelling at your soul.

I know, he’s an artist, and even when his artistic vision is off, his artistic temperament still reigns.  But what is Gary doing to him? Forcing him to abandon he believes in? I know Gary pretty well.  I love him.  But he ain’t worth all that.

This rehearsal process is just killing me.  I’m so drained: physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.  So many people’s dreams were riding on this show.  And now…this.

I need a cup of coffee.

The next story.

JaneIt’s around this time of year I get to thinking. . . what use have I made of the past year? And the answer I get from myself is usually, “You did pretty well, Jane. Could have done better, but look what you had to work with.”

Well…….. mediocrity no more! I picked up the pamphlet for that acting school in Greece again. Just holding it in my fingertips gave me goosebumps, like I could feel the energy of the program leaping right off the page into my veins. It made me elated, excited—gave me a fleeting feeling of empowerment that I could do it; that I could do anything.

Of course, like all fleeting feelings of empowerment, this one was quickly replaced by gut-punching fear. But unlike with other bouts of gut-punching fear, this time I held my ground. I marked my calendar with the application date. I’m going to do it. Or at least try. I’ll never regret giving it a try.

One nagging question already, however. Who’s going to write a recommendation for me? Yikes. Certainly not Graham. He’d flip out if he knew I was so much as thinking of leaving, let alone leaving him without a new manuscript. Maybe I’ll have time to write both, my application and the next story. I should probably let the dust settle from the holidays, before I make any sudden movements.

Actually, on second thought, I should probably take action before inertia slows my heart rate back down again. I need to choose whether the next story I create will be his or my own.

On Fire

DebbyI’ve been thinking a great deal about “taking ownership.” Taking ownership of my life, making sure I’m the one who holds the reins and putting out exactly what I want to see in the world. Having a sense of peace about it all—but that doesn’t mean putting out the fire!

If anything, I am on fire! I feel more passionate about what I do now than anything I’ve ever done before. Proof to me that if you put it out there, you’ll get it back. By letting go and having faith I’ve been more free than ever before.

Which brings me to this new show. Auditions were today and I just know I got it! Well, I don’t know, but if those auditioners weren’t completely dead inside they’ll know I’m the right one for the role. Just think…. I could be in Gary’s first play! I’ve seen everything he’s ever directed in town before, and just to step on stage with artists of that caliber, well it’s proof to me that I’m right where I want to be.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity I had today. And even if they don’t call me (which would be crazy!), I’m proud of how I did.

Come on, Life, what’s next??!

passion. in the lower case.

“But what are you passionate about Paul?,” my movement teacher inquired after a ferocious bout of ‘sound and motion’ this Wednesday in Hell’s Kitchen.

My jaw locked. My shoulders drew up to my ears. My toes curled inward. I had just spent an hour and a half moving around wildly, allowing my every breath and impulse to be translated into movements and sudden bursts of sound; I had felt so free and unencumbered and open to evaluate and come to the present moment of my life – and just when the moment came to put all this work into a word and speak my truth. . . I clammed up.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “Can I tell you next week?” Wah-wah.

And that’s how it always is isn’t it? Would I cease to be an artist if I were able to just put my truth out there in life and not lean on the crutch of a playwright, a director or a choreographer to help me channel it into perspective?

There is this fire inside. This burning desire that brings you to your feet, to class, to the stage and it feels so certain and human and essential and intrinsic to your nature that you feel it is rightfully yours. Then why all the trouble figuring out how to express it yourself? Why the cold feet? The self-doubt? The desperate attempts to back up this intangible idea, this inner greatness with exterior BS?

I really don’t know what I’m doing anymore.

I just pulled $5,000 out of my savings last week to help back a new show I am working on with, well let’s just say a “very special someone”, and although I trust the process completely and know that with hard work we can really let our inner passion shine through this project – I am crippled with doubts. How can it shine, how can it be all worth it if I don’t even know what it is? I mean really Paul what is your fucking passion?!?

I just feel that I am running into walls everywhere I turn and the wall is me. I wish I could run away on a year-long retreat. Or go to Germany or Iceland or China or Greece and just do my thing- A show of self-discovery and unabashed Passion with a capital P! I would do it in the streets if I had to! But that will never happen. I’m way too rigid. Wah-wah.

Have a nice day. I’ll try to be a little more optimistic next time.

On second thought, rehearsal tonight – Yay!

I remembered why I don’t like it.

JaneSo the universe is putting me to the test yet again. I recently took yet another ghost writing job. So close, yet so far from acting.

I took the job, feeling like I NEED THE MONEY!!!

Well a few days into it, I remembered why I don’t like it, how my boss keeps me in a repressed little box, and is at this point just utterly degrading my full potential. His version of being direct is being ungrateful, while I’m performing miracles making wine out of water with 24 hour turn-arounds and he is still focused so hard on what’s wrong or could potentially be wrong that he makes you feel incompetent while all you are doing is the best you can, with the resources he has chosen to give to you. I’ve asked for better, he says no….apparently doesn’t understand the concept you get what you pay for, and the icing on the cake…is the few little things he tries to make me wrong for, was Actually in REALITY right & efficient, it just wasn’t HIS WAY, and I’m being made to deal with his fears, and anxieties for making promises to his client that HE can’t live up to. YET I’M AUTHENTIC IN MINE!

And this time I know it’s not just me. It’s time to be the “stars” we are meant to be!!!

And I’m finally promising myself, NO MORE! I’m walking through the terror of my final test.

And so I’m throwing my hands up in the air and asking whatever is out there….”tell me, what now?”

Please, give me a sign.